700 New Words, Senses, and Phrases Added to the Oxford English Dictionary

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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), updated on a quarterly basis, just added 700 new words, senses, and phrases in its March 2022 update. This update was so large, OED Editors devoted four blog articles to it!

For an overview of the update, take a look at Content warning: may contain notes on the OED March 2022 update from OED Senior Editor, Jonathan Dent. The article highlights new entries for "recent linguistic developments" like burner phone, trigger warning, and first gentleman. New additions have also been added to existing entries, including cowboy coffee, dinosaur hunter, and anti-ageing. Contemporary themes like climate and the environment (decarbonize) and gender and sexuality (gender-affirming and demisexual) also added new entries and senses. And new entries were added for the phrases standing on the shoulders of giants and what's up, doc.

Speaking of "doc", OED Senior Editor, Tania Styles explored the revised entry for doctor in OED March revision update: just what the doctor ordered. Early (and now obsolete) use of doctor meant "a teacher, an instructor" (sense 1a) or a learned authority on a topic or subject (sense 2a). Related to this sense is the more familiar usage in university settings, like Doctor of Law, Doctor of Divinity, and Doctor of Medicine (senses 4 and 5). Styles notes that "from the 18th century onwards doctor has been used with increasing frequency to denote a doctor of medicine" (sense 6). Other senses include to "doctor" food or drink "especially with a view to passing it off as a superior product" (sense 9) and as "a person employed to give specialist advice or help", like "PC doctor, car doctor, and of course, spin doctor" (sense 13).

In the blog article Release notes: Irish English, OED Executive Editor, Danica Salazar examines the recent additions of a number of Irish English words and phrases, including blas, bockety, and béal bocht. The terms of endearment segotia and a chara were updated, as were senses for blow-in and ghost estate, which are phrases chiefly used in Ireland.

The last blog article for this OED update, Flattery and incongruous mixtures in the Historical Thesaurus of the OED from OED Executive Editor, Kate Wild, uses the addition of the Irish English word plámás, meaning "flattery; insincere or exaggerated praise, esp. when used to cajole or persuade", to explore "the category flattery in the Historical Thesaurus of the OED (HTOED), which shows the various words that have been used to express this concept over the centuries". These include figurative uses of a number of words whose origins imply "smooth or oily substances", like blandish and anoint, as well as words whose origins relate to food, like treacle, blancmange, and flummery.

For a full list of the new words, senses, and phrases added to the OED, check out the New words list March 2022.

Have questions about the update process of the OED? Check out our blog posts Understanding the Editions of the Oxford English Dictionary Part 1 and Part 2.

The Oxford English Dictionary is a membership database available to all Jenkins members.

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